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Posted at 05:41 AM ET, 05/23/2011

West Wing briefing: Obama to visit Irish town where ancestors lived


President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama pose with Taoiseach Enda Kenny (2nd L) and his wife Fionnuala at Farmleigh House in Dublin May 23, 2011. (KEVIN LAMARQUE - REUTERS)
You might call Monday the fun day of President Obama’s Europe tour.

The president will spend an hour in the Irish town of Moneygall, where it is believed his great-great-great grandfather grew up. The town has excitedly anticipated his arrival, with people waiting hours in line for tickets to Obama’s speech there. The local newspaper, the Ofally Independent, put out a special edition Friday in which the paper dubbed itself “The Obama Independent.” (Moneygall is in a county called Ofally.)

“This is a homecoming of sorts for President Obama. He’s very excited to see this small town in Ireland from which he has roots, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing some of the people of Moneygall and making a stop there,” said Ben Rhodes, one of Obama’s top national security aides.

Obama, who arrived in Ireland Monday at 9:29 a.m. local time (4:29 a.m. in Washington) will also give a public speech in Dublin, highlighting relations between Ireland and the United States.

Ireland is the first stop in a six-day trip for Obama, who will also visit Great Britain, France and Poland. But much of the rest, from a speech to the British Parliament in London to a dinner with a group of heads of states from several Central and Eastern European countries in Poland, is expected to be more sober than his day in Ireland.

Back in Washington

Vice President Biden will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. They are not expected to address reporters after the meeting, so a repeat of the frank, public exchange Netanyahu had with Obama on Friday is unlikely.

By Perry Bacon Jr.  |  05:41 AM ET, 05/23/2011

 
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